Failure to Appear in Court
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What Does "Failure to Appear in Court" Mean?
People are required to show up to court for any number of reasons. For example, if you received a speeding ticket, have been charged with a DUI, or have been subpoenaed to appear for a trial, then you are supposed to show up in court at a certain date and time. If you do not appear in court when you are scheduled to, then you can be charged for failing to appear in court.
What Can Happen If I Fail to Appear in Court?
Failure to appear in court is a criminal offense and depending on the circumstances can result in additional fines and fees or a warrant being issued for your arrest. For example, if you sign a traffic ticket promising to appear in court at an arraignment, and do not show up, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor and a judge might issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
Once a warrant has been issued for your arrest, there are several consequences that might occur:
- If you are ever stopped by the police, a system check on your license number will alert the police that there is a warrant out for you, which will result in them arresting you.
- You may be held in contempt of court.
- Your license might be suspended until your case is closed and might result in you having to pay a fee to the DMV to reinstate your license.
- You may be held in jail after you are arrested.
- You may be denied bail
Do I Need an Attorney?
As you can see, a failure to appear in court can lead to severe consequences, such as imprisonment. If you have failed to appear in court you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. A criminal defense lawyer can inform you of the specific consequences of failing to appear in court in your state and can help your explain to the judge why you failed to appear.
Once you have a lawyer, you should show up in court as soon as possible to turn yourself in and pay whatever fines you owe. Your lawyer will help arrange and set a pre-trial date to discuss your failure to appear in court with the District Attorney.
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Last Modified: 06-19-2014 10:17 AM PDT
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